Chinese volunteers emerge from virtual moon base

Student volunteers wave from inside the Lunar Palace 1 in May 2017
Student volunteers wave from inside the Lunar Palace 1 in May 2017

A group of Chinese volunteers has emerged from 110 days of isolation in a virtual "lunar lab", state media reported Tuesday, as the country pursues its ambition to put people on the moon.

The official Xinhua news service streamed images on its website of the would-be astronauts emerging from their temporary home, a self-contained environment simulating conditions which future explorers will face on the moon's surface.

In the video, students wearing masks and blue tennis shirts emerge from the pod carrying baskets of fruit and vegetables, including carrots and strawberries, grown inside the module.

It was the group's second stay in the 160-square-metre (1,720-square-foot) "Yuegong-1"—Lunar Palace—on the campus of Beihang University, following a 60-day sojourn earlier.

In between, a second group of four students spent 200 consecutive days in the facility.

The volunteers lived in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term space mission with no input from the outside world.

The facility treats human waste with a bio-fermentation process, and volunteers grew experimental crops and vegetables with the help of food and waste byproducts.

The "Lunar Palace" has two plant cultivation modules and an accommodation cabin: 42 square metres containing four sleeping cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.

A successful 105-day trial was conducted in 2014.

China does not expect to land its first astronauts on the for at least another decade. But the project seeks to help it prepare explorers for longer stays on the surface.

China is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed outpost by 2022.

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Chinese volunteers spend 200 days on virtual 'moon base'

© 2018 AFP

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May 15, 2018
When the Chinese have conquered Africa and colonized the moon tunnels, America will be done for.

May 16, 2018
OK, they have tested the lab. Now let's stuff some dudes and chicks into a rocket and put them on the moon! What are they waiting for?

May 16, 2018
I doubt if the Chinese have any illusions about what a disaster 'conquering' Africa would be for their ambitions of bringing the other half of China into the modern age. As with everyone before them, the Chinese will take from Africa what resources they can access, then abandon it. Lots of precedence for that future.

For those who do not get their international expertise from comicbooks. The big news is the development of the new Silk Road corridors as far as the Black Sea. And the Maritime Silk Road Route. Opening up access for China to all the resources of Tibet and Central Asia. That is not dominated by Russian or Western Powers extortion.

The Moon is a sideshow. A trap for Human colonization that will end in misery. Automated facilities will have the advantage on that dead world. And only in support of orbital industries. There is no possible profit in shipping metals down to Earth.

As for 'stuffing' a rocket full of people? Jamestown. Roanoke, Plymouth.

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